Opportunities in the Ries Lab

Undergraduate Research Assistants (2017-2018 school year)

Starting immediately, I am looking for 2 undergraduate research assistants to work an average of 10 hrs per week in my lab. Undergraduate research assistants can either be paid ($12.50/hour), register through GUROP for transcript annotation, or can register for Research Tutorial to receive course credits (in future terms). Lab assistants will support our research in two main areas: thermal ecology of North American butterflies and informatics (database compilation and modeling) that is essential to the large-scale research we perform (see http://www.butterflyinformatics.org/research).

Laboratory work is concentrated from March through October and tasks include:

  • Harvesting, cleaning and preparing host plants for feeding
  • Feeding caterpillars, cleaning their containers, and recording data on development
  • Capturing and maintaining adults in egg-laying cages and collecting eggs
  • Sorting eggs and caterpillars for experimental treatments
  • Helping in lab maintenance including inventories and cleaning equipment
  • Data entry and data quality control

Informatics work is largely focused on compiling databases. Informatics work continues throughout the year, but is often secondary to laboratory work during our main butterfly rearing season (March-October). We have four main types of databases where we add and curate data:

  • Ecological trait data for the global community of butterflies and for northeastern US forest moths
  • Physiological data on caterpillar development based on thermal limits and host nutrition
  • Citizen science monitoring data for model building and validation

We also maintain three websites that require curation:

Positions will offer experience in a wide range of areas important to climate change research, but tasks will also be targeted to help meet the education goals of our assistants. We encourage independent projects and also invite seniors to focus their RISE projects in the lab. Because of the nature of our work, we offer experience in a wide range of areas, including laboratory experience in experimental physiology, database work, and independent projects that require both classical and advanced approaches in statistics. We therefore will consider applicants from Biology, Math and Statistics, or Computer Sciences. Schedules are flexible and some work can be completed remotely.

If you are interested in this position, please contact Leslie.Ries@georgetown.edu

Graduate Student (starting summer or fall 2018)

The Ries Lab is recruiting a Ph.D. student whose research would include experiments on physiological constraints to growth for one or both of our two study species: silver spotted skippers (Epargyreus clarus) and Baltimore checkerspots (Euphydryas phaeton). Students in our lab focus on both laboratory research and large-scale modeling using pre-existing data sets. Projects that leverage small-scale experiments to make predictions at large (continental) or long-term (decadal) scales are encouraged. Our lab curates a wealth of informatics sources to both build and test species distribution, phenology, or community assemblage models. The Georgetown Biology Department offers a diverse, supportive community of researchers in ecology, evolution and behavior. The program is part of a larger DC consortium that includes 14 local universities.

Georgetown is an equal opportunity employer and applicants from all backgrounds are encouraged to apply.